SANTIAGO, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin American can serve to meet the region's development goals, if channeled correctly, the Santiago, Chile-based Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said on Tuesday.
To that end, the FDI should be directed to strategic sectors such as infrastructure, digitalization and clean energies, ECLAC's Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena said during Chile's Sixth International Investment Forum being held in the capital.
"Our region expects FDI flows to be able to contribute to productive diversification and innovation, to the development of new industries with a lesser environmental impact and to the creation of direct and indirect jobs," said Barcena.
"The main challenge is to attract quality foreign investment that can increase capital in innovation, that can align with national development plans, that can build capacity in receptor countries," she added.
By boosting the FDI, the forum, organized by Chile's Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (InvestChile), "helps the development of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," Barcena noted.
However, investment alone is not the answer, said Barcena, stressing the need to focus on new technologies.
"To become more competitive, Latin America has to take part in the digital revolution," said Barcena.
The world today "is characterized by geopolitical changes that are redefining the roles of powers such as China, Europe and the United States, in addition to growing inequality (and) the rise of the so-called fourth industrial revolution centered on digitalization," she added.
Barcena urged the region to invest in innovation and technology, noting that "in 1990, Latin America and the Caribbean was responsible for 2 percent of patent applications worldwide, and in 2014 that percentage remained the same, while China went from 1 percent to 35 percent in the same period."
Chile's President Michelle Bachelet, along with the director of InvestChile, Carlos Alvarez, inaugurated the forum attended by Chile's ministers of Finance, Economy, and Tourism.